Each Week OT expert, Sarit Tresser will be giving an in-depth insightful analysis into the various ways Health Games aid both children and adults with disabilities. Tune in to receive first-hand input from a professional in the field of child development
This post applies to children between the ages of 6-9
This week’s feature will discuss working with older children using virtual reality, based on the same principles described for young children, by creating a successful experience as a basis for increasing motivated, gradual progression of the difficulty levels, and using timocco for encouraging the use of the weak hand.
Adjust the difficulty level of the activity and the range of motion according to the child’s capabilities and work with two hands to improve the capabilities of bilateral coordination. It is recommended to place the camera in a high position to encourage the child to work with his hands up past the shoulders to strengthen the shoulder girdle. You can attach hand weights for the older children to add resistance and strengthen muscle power while playing. Also, you should try various postures while playing: standing tall, knight stand (knee-foot), standing on the knees , lying on the ground, sitting on a bolster, or standing on an unstable surface (like a cushion).
The older kids can be active partners in setting goals and monitoring their performance. It is recommended to reflect the child’s change in game settings from time to time to reflect the child’s progress. At the end of the activity you can access the software results screens and go through the output provided by the system, which presents the performance of the child.
As a common observation, an understanding of the child’s results will give the child a sense of control and engagement in the process. It will help the child to identify his progress and encourage him to continue to challenge himself to improve performance. If we look at the child’s hand movements graph that is provided by the software Timocco, the child can identify motion patterns, such as: how the weak hand was used, the amount of movement, and how effective those movements were, and if each hand was crossed to the other side of the space provided. Analysis of the children’s movement pattern may lead to insights that the child was not aware of when playing the game, and in this way, we will increase awareness to the boundaries of the body and the degree of use of the hand. Often the child will be surprised at his use of the weak hand, this is because often, children are highly motivated and full of interest in the game, so they tend to use their hand while playing without being aware of it. Discovering that the child’s pelagic hand was very active in the game, will encourage the use of the hand consciously and gain confidence in its abilities, thus the child will start using it more, even in daily activities outside the virtual environment.
Since working with children of this age is often based on their awareness to their abilities, the challenges they are exposed to, and their coping methods, this will illustrate their achievements in a visual way using a graph or chart as a meaningful way to internalize the process they go through, increasing their confidence and establish faith in their abilities.
Next post will expand the use of timocco working with children with cerebral palsy.